Elements of Successful Dialogue

“Dialogue is fundamentally a practice of examining thought together, leading to new ways of thinking.”

–David Bohm 1996


  • Prepare well
  • Build relationships
  • Gain understanding


  • Generate options
  • Assess best possibilities
  • Agree outcomes
  • Create action plan
  • Evaluate process and outcome

In Detail:

  • Identify objectives? agreed? shared?
  • Find good venue / have food
  • Encourage diversity / mingling / introductions
  • Manage numbers / groups
  • Provide skilled facilitation – with guidelines / flexibility / creativity
  • Agree ground rules: Protocol
  • Use a “talking piece”?
  • Be focused: specific questions
  • Seek clarity: purpose, process, output
  • Consider recording / dissemination
  • Look for feedback and learning
  • Use social media
  • Address funding / resourcing

Further Characteristics:

  • Responsibility / accountability / perseverance
  • Humility, courage
  • “little acts of aloha” (a phrase from Hawaii!)
  • Grace

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